The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) celebrated their historic past and their present community with a party held Sunday inside and outside of the cultural, community, arts and learning center on the Hill.
Commissioned in 1864 as the nation’s first Naval Hospital, the District accepted a 2002 proposal offered by a coalition of Capitol Hill neighbors for the site’s reuse as an educational center for children and adults and a gathering place for community residents.
The facility underwent a major, $10 million historic renovation, which brought the structure back to its original appearance, adorned in its original colors and surrounded by its monumental wrought-iron fence. The Hill Center opened for the community in 2011.
Families gathered there to celebrate and enjoy the Hill Center at the eighth annual Family Day, held Sunday, Sept. 29. Inside, children sat to have their faces painted, posed with crazy props at the Winks Photobooth or stood in line to receive balloon-art in the shape of everything from Spiderman to butterflies and sparkle-wands from the popular Balloons by Brenda.
In one second-floor room, tots bopped to the mini concerts performed by Meadowlark Music, while in another older kids and their parents were amused by the tricks (and quips!) of Turley the Magician, who, for his last trick made a live rabbit appear. (When the animal didn’t show after the first wave of his wand, Turley joked, “Must have had a hare appointment.”)
Outside, families rode the horse and wagon or enjoyed the demonstrations of copper work and black smithing. At 4 p.m., they gathered outside to dance to the music of King Bullfrog, children bopping away in front of the stage as parents toasted the Hill Center with a glass from the outdoor happy hour, happy to sit and enjoy the trees that grace the historical property as the sun went down.
Learn more about the Hill Center, it’s past, present and future (including incredible cultural and educational offerings) by visiting hillcenterdc.org